Little Lakes Valley

General Info


Park Info

Located in Ancil Hoffman Park

Address:  2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael CA 95608

(off Tarshes Drive, the San Lorenzo entrance gate is locked, enter through Tarshes Way, see website for directions)

$5 Parking Fee

Open Dawn to Dusk

*clicking here will take you to my Garmin Page where you can find an interactive map. Garmin users can also download the course to their GPS devices.

Contact Info



Phone: (916) 489-4918

FAX: (916) 489-4983

Mail: Effie Yeaw Nature Center P.O. Box 579 , Carmichael, CA 95609-0579

*Map image courtesy of


Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve is named after Effie Yeaw, a teacher, conservationist and environmental educator who frequented the area on educational nature walks. She was one of the leading forces behind preserving the land now known as The American River Parkway.

Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve is a great place to go for people of all ages and fitness levels. Overall, the park has very few elevation changes so the few hills that there are, are very subtle. Additionally, the way the trails are connected, you can make your hikes as long or as short as you want and there are benches throughout the park to rest on if you need to sit down for a minute. One of the best things is that you can easily see a lot of the park in less than 2 miles.

The park is not only good for hiking, but easy access to wildlife, and a beautiful stretch of the American River. Within less than a mile you can access the river and chill for as long as you like before hiking back to your car.

One of the park's best features is its wildlife. In the morning, you'll hear birds chirping and turkey calls during mating season. You'll also see deer, rabbits, and squirrels. If you're lucky and come during dawn or dusk, you could also see a coyote, possum, or other nocturnal animal.

For more information go to,

My recommended hike...

When I come to the park, I come to get some exercise and hope to see some wildlife while enjoying the trails, if that's what you are looking for, I recommend something like this;

From the Nature Center take the Main Trail until you hit the Meadow Trail and turn right. Follow the Meadow Trail all the way to the pond. Fair warning, the pond is just a stagnant pool of water. Along the Meadow Trail keep your eyes peeled for deer either laying in the shade or standing up eating in the meadows. Wild Turkey are also out in abundance and are quite hilarious in the spring when they are showing off for the ladies.

Once you reach the pond turn right and follow an un-named trail. You'll pass a few un-named junctions, but just keep staying to the right until you hit the Riverview Trail Junction. At this point turn left on the Riverview Trail.

Follow the Riverview Trail along the river all the way until you reach a sign that you are leaving the Preserve. Along the trail, there are various points you can cut off on side trails and cross the sandbar to get down closer to the water. I always end up doing some side trail exploring down here. Make sure to keep following the trails all the way to the end past the houses you'll see up on the bluff. You'll eventually reach the marker that you are at the end of the Preserve.

Once you reach the end, start back the way you came (or you can cut down near the river and make a loop that parallels the Riverview Trail). You'll want to follow the Riverview Trail back to the Woodland Trail.

Once you get to the Woodland Trail, turn right and follow it through a beautiful oak forest and gently rolling trail until you hit the Natoma Trail. Turn left on the Natoma Trail and take it back to the Main Trail.

From here turn right until you get to the Bluff Trail. The Main Trail is pretty much what the name says, the widest, most used trail in the Preserve. It's still beautiful, but because I like to be on smaller singletrack, I turn left as soon as I get to the Bluff Trail and then follow it back to the Nature Center. The Bluff Trail is not much of a Bluff and is easy for just about anyone. There are a few stairs up the hillside but for the most part it's not very difficult. This trail is short but leads through another section of beautiful forest and meadows.

Now you get to decide if you want to stop or keep hiking. If you want to keep hiking, I recommend taking the Pond Trail all the way back to the pond and then adding on as many other loops/sections as you want to see again, or explore along the river. My hikes and loops usually end up about 5 miles long and require doing some sections twice or exploring the trails down near the riverbank. The trail is also in excellent condition for trail running if you'd prefer that. Enjoy!

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